Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition that results in discomfort located at the bottom of the feet. It is common in runners and other athletes but anyone of any fitness level can experience it. Read on to find out more about the causes and potential treatments for plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes the plantar fascia to become inflamed, causing pain in the heel or arch of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes, helping to form the arch of the foot and to launch the body when running or jumping. Its main job is to absorb shock, so unsurprisingly it can become strained after a lot of use, causing the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Although it is a common condition, medical professionals are uncertain as to what specifically causes plantar fasciitis. It is, however, understood to be caused by inflammation from heavy use. It is known to appear in those who do a lot of exercise on their feet, such as long-distance runners and dancers, and especially for those who are new to doing lots of exercise.

However, it can also be simply triggered by being on your feet for a long period of time or by accidentally overstretching the sole of your foot. Other risk factors include wearing shoes with poor support or being overweight.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

Plantar fasciitis can often be treated at home, for example by taking painkillers and resting with your foot raised, or with an ice pack on the affected area. You may wish to try gentle stretches or new, more supportive shoes, with good arch support and cushioned heels. A low-impact sport like swimming may help to reduce strain and improve recovery time.

If you go to a GP, there is no known cure that they can prescribe. They may refer you to a podiatrist or physiotherapist who can help to recommend exercises or specialist footwear.

However, these methods are not always effective in treating the cause of plantar fasciitis. New treatments are being developed at our plantar fasciitis clinic in London to greatly decrease pain and speed up recovery.

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